Je t’aimais: Part Four

Late-night Stroll

“Do you want to go for a walk?” French James Dean asked.

By this point it was getting to be about 3:00 in the morning and almost everything was closed. The streets were growing silent and those who had been partying just twenty minutes before were slowly making their way home. I wasn’t sure if it was that last glass of wine or the thought of going back into the crowded bar, by now the only one still open, that drove me to say yes. Probably not the safest of decisions I’ve ever made, but I wanted to live every day in Rennes as though I might not have any more. 

“Sure, why not.”

He took me by the hand and led me down the cobblestone road. The darkness was interrupted by street lamps that decorated the sidewalk every twenty feet or so. As we walked, he told me how he grew up in this town and knew every street by heart. He told me stories of his childhood and his family. Then he told me about his job and his girlfriend, both in a nearby town. I didn’t talk much. Although I speak French, I was so tired and frazzled by the whole evening, that I couldn’t put coherent sentences together. He didn’t seem to mind; I was grateful he never put me on the spot.

He pulled me to the left suddenly; we were still holding hands. The street lamps were gone and through squinted eyes I could make out the side of an old church. It wasn’t the breathtaking kind found in travel magazines, just a stone building that had seen a congregation through countless decades.

Our vocal conversation had fallen away and was replaced by a steady gaze. Neither one of us could turn our eyes from the other. To me, it seemed silent and ear-shattering all at the same time. Within seconds, one hand pulled me close while the other cradled my face bringing me in for a kiss.



Je t’aimais: Part One

Writing 101, Day Four

C’est salement romantique

It was April 5th, nearly midnight, and I was a half bottle of wine and two tequila shots in.

He was tall with dark hair, dark jeans, and a dark leather jacket. I instantly thought of James Dean when I saw him; I wondered if this rebel had a cause… He sat right across from me; our melange of francophones and American college students had decided to go to Le P’tit Vélo, a small bar near Place de la Lice. I noticed that he was staring at me, but not saying much. I leaned towards my bestie, Kayla, and she confirmed what I was thinking – he was cute and clearly interested. Most of us were speaking English, that’s what study abroad students do on their time off. James Dean understood only a handful of the words that were being drunkenly slurred across the table, but I did hear him when he whispered to his friend, “Elle a les plus jolies yeux.” She has the most pretty eyes. 

I was smitten. When a brooding, French James Dean falls for a sophomore from the Midwest, she can’t help but fall too.


(the title is also the name of a fabulous song by Cœur de Pirate)


A True Saint

A True Saint

In 300 years, if people were to look back on my life and decide that I was to be named the patron saint of something, I think that something would be la douleur exquise. This is a French term that is most accurately translated as, “the pain of wanting someone you cannot have.”

Like many women, I find myself always wanting things that I cannot or should not have. I do love my life and those in it, but after traveling to France, there are things that I want to do, people that I want to be with… However, I’ve gotten really good at talking myself out of those things and into realizing what blessings I do have.